It’s official: Scandal star Kerry Washington is pregnant. The actress, 39, is currently pregnant with her second child with her husband, former NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha. But what does this news mean for Scandal, which has already been renewed for season 6 next year.

According to TVLine, ABC is currently deciding what to do about Scandal as the network will reveal its 2016-2017 schedule in two weeks. And one of the options would be to push the drama to mid-season since Washington’s pregnancy will likely affect the typical start of production on a new season.

UPDATE: TVLine has also reported that ABC has cut the order for Scandal season 6 from 22 episodes down to just 16 episodes due to Washington’s pregnancy.The much shorter season puts it roughly on par with the run of How to Get Away with Murder and makes it more likely that the show will only run for half the season.

But should ABC delay Scandal until 2017? The current presidential election storyline is accelerating rapidly, presumably so that season 6’s general election storyline could coincide with the real-life presidential election. If Scandal gets delayed, then an election will be old news by the time season 6 airs if it doesn’t premiere until January.

The other, most likely option would be to simply diminish Olivia Pope’s role at the start of Scandal season 6. Clearly it’s not easy to have Scandal without its leading lady, but with a potential major story arc centering on the election, Olivia as campaign manager could theoretically take a back seat as the show focuses on other aspects of the story. It’s easy to imagine episodes all about the actual candidates or episodes centered largely on Fitz’s lame duck presidency, both of which could exist without Kerry Washington.

Or Scandal could try something completely different? What if they do an episode or two in which Olivia imagines what her life would be like if she didn’t abort Fitz’s baby. A dream sequence is certainly one way to handle a pregnant actress whose character isn’t pregnant.

The last time Washington was pregnant was in season 3, but the timing was different and the solution was simply for ABC to cut the episode order from 22 down to 18.

ABC still has two weeks to decide, but this real-life news definitely throws a curveball into the network’s original plans for Scandal season 6. How do you think they should handle it?

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of WENN)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.